So Minnesota: F. Scott Fitzgerald's early life in St. Paul

Joe Mazan
Updated: December 08, 2020 10:11 AM
Created: December 03, 2020 06:02 PM

Minnesota has produced some great writers over the years, but one of the most well-known never lived to see his success. 

Born in a home on Laurel Avenue in 1896, F. Scott Fitzgerald would be raised in St. Paul in a Summit Avenue home.

"Basically he said something to the effect of 'It's not a very impressive house on a very impressive street,'" Lori Williamson, with the Minnesota Historical Society, said.

On Dale Street at the former St. Paul Academy, there's a statue of a young Fitzgerald. He attended classes and published some of his first short stories in the school magazine.   

"It was kind of clear from very early on he wanted to be a writer."

In 1925, Fitzgerald penned the Great Gatsby. It provides a critical social history of America during the Jazz Age. Many consider it to be one the greatest novels ever written. But at the time the book was published, it was snubbed by most critics and readers.

"That really really took a toll on his confidence."

Fitzgerald's alcoholism, financial problems and turbulant relationship with wife Zelda led to his death in 1940. 

"Everything got the better of him," Williamson said. "He died very young. He was only 44."

A statue of one of St. Paul's favorite sons stands in Rice Park, a tribute to one of the greatest American writers, a man who only received wide acclaim after his death.  

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